SONNY BARGER (1938-2022)

Sonny Barger, infamous founder of The Hell’s Angels has died of liver cancer at the age of 83. His life and exploits are recounted in this MSN obit. Pretty wild adventures, if you read the whole thing. 
So why is the passing of Sonny Barger the subject of this blog dedicated to Lee Marvin? 

Lee Marvin as Chino in The Wild One, inspiring a young Sonny Barger.


Well, quite simply, Marvin’s Chino in The Wild One (1954) proved to be the inspiration for Barger’s creation of The Hell’s Angels. Seriously. According to producer Stanley Kramer the film did not make much money when first released as it was banned more places than it played. However, it’s influence remains to this day. Never mind that it was the first of a plethora of biker films to come over the next several decades. It’s not worth remembering that most film critics at the time did not know what they were talking about when they said Marvin was too old to be a biker challenging young and moody Marlon Brando. The fact was the raid on Hollister, CA was the film’s inspiration and most of those bikers WERE closer to Marvin’s age. 
    Marvin’s opinion of his role, his relationship with Brando, and best of all, the way in which the real-life bikers reacted to Marvin’s performance on a personal level, are all recounted in Lee Marvin Point Blank for the first time in amazing detail. 
The film has had other influences, as well….

A young Jack Nicholson in HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967) a few years before his breakout role in EASY RIDER.

Future superstar Jack Nicholson also found inspiration from Lee Marvin’s Chino as seen in the photo here in which he took a cue from Marvin’s striped shirt by incorporating a pair of similiarly striped pants. 
Matter of fact, Nicholson was quite a fan of Lee Marvin as I’ve written about previously

By the way, another Marvin cohort entered the realm of biker flicks.The actor’s Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Killers (1964) costar John Cassavetes paid for his more personal independent film by appearing in The Devil’s Angels (1967)….

John Cassavates as a rebel biker in THE DEVIL’S ANGELS (1967). 

So Rest in Peace, Mr. Barger. I don’t know if it was a life well-lived but it certainly was a full life. You might take some comfort in knowing that being inspired by Lee Marvin was not the only time that took place. In fact, in the same film, a young British musician heard the name of Marvin’s rival group and was also inspired. Anybody care to guess who?
– Dwayne Epstein

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MAIRTIN BYRNES

Mairtin Byrnes. Every hear of him? Well, truth be told I had not, that is until my publisher forwarded an e-mail to me from a gentleman across the pond named Lamond Gillespie. He had requested information about Lee Marvin’s whereabouts during a certain period of time and wanted to know if I could help. Further proof that the influence of Lee Marvin Point Blank knows no bounds. So, in July, 2020, I responded to Mr. Gillespie’s request with what little info I could provide. The result was a series of e-mails between us that culminated recently with a pleasant surprise. I’ve now become a fan of Mr. Byrnes’ music & legacy. Thank you again, Lee Marvin, as your influence works in mysterious ways. As to the correspondence, it played out chronologically below from July 2020 to just last week….
________________________________________
Hello Lamond,
I’m writing in response to the e-mail message my publisher forwarded to me in your request for info regarding Lee Marvin. Thank you for thinking of me but unfortunately, I really don’t have any information regarding Marvin being a drinking buddy of Mairtin Byrnes or Garech De Brun. I can tell you that in the late 1970s Marvin was in Ireland to film some scenes in a castle for Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One. In which case, it is entirely possible that he hoisted a few in the pubs of Dublin with Mr. Byrnes. Marvin was not all that particular with whom he drank with. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help and thank you for thinking of me. All the best,
Dwayne Epstein
Author of the award-winning N.Y. Times bestseller
LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK
_______________________________________
Hello Dwayne
Thanks very much for getting back to me. Very grateful to know about his trip to Ireland in the late 70s. All the very best
Lamond
________________________________________
My pleasure, Lamond. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. I can tell you the scenes filmed in Ireland were not in the final version of the original release but were later restored by film critic and historian Richard Schickel, along with several other scenes. If you see the restored version (which is very much available), the scenes in Ireland were the ones that take place in the castle with the sniper. Hope that helps. All the best,
Dwayne
_____________________________________
Hello Dwayne
Have just realised that I hadn’t replied to your last message. Very sorry about this and thanks very much for the further information. All the very best
Lamond
_____________________________________
Not a problem, Lamond. Again, sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Curious, have you read my book?
_____________________________________
I am in fact reading it at the minute. Incidently since sending the last email found a picture of Lee Marvin and Sam Fuller in it visiting John Boorman in Ireland during the filming of the Big Red One. Have also ordered a copy of the extended film which I haven’t seen in any form before. John Boorman lived very close to and was friendly with Garech de Brun which opens up a possible connection with Mairtin Byrnes so your information has been very helpful.
_______________________________________
I’m pretty sure I know which picture you’re referring to as I used it in my book with permission from Sam Fuller’s widow, Christa. Matter of fact, I posted the color version on my blog a while back….
https://pointblankbook.com/john-boorman-sam-fuller-lee-marvin/
Don’t know what format you’re reading my book in but it should be in there in the photo section. Glad to know my info helped, too.
______________________________________
On Wednesday, 15 June 2022, Lamond Gillespie wrote:
Hello Dwayne
Was wanting to let you know about a photo of Lee Marvin and Máirtín Byrnes together in a BBC documentary about John Boorman made by Boorman’s daughter. Hopefully I have managed to attach it. Thanks very much again for your help. I have since finished producing a CD of Máirtín Byrnes’s music in which I have credited you. If you let me know where to send it will send a copy. Thanks very much again. All the very best
Lamond

(L-R) Irish music legend Mairtin Byrnes fiddles for Lee Marvin in the late 70s.

_____________________________________
Good to hear from you and very glad to hear about the CD you produced. If you are willing to send it to me as you mentioned, I’ll send you my address. By the way, the photo you sent is a great one. Would you mind if I use it for my blog? Let me know and thanks again. All the best,
Dwayne
________________________________________
Hello Dwayne
You are very welcome to use the photo in your blog, that would be fantastic. Will try and get the CD in the post tomorrow. Thanks very much again. All the best
Lamond
_________________________________________

Thank you very much, Lamond. That is extremely thoughtful and generous of you. I will look forward to receiving the CD as I did a Google search and discovered you are quite renowned in your field. Kudos to you, my friend. All the best,
Dwayne
____________________________________

My recent 2-disc set acquisition thanks to the auspices of historian/producer Lamond Gillespie.

 

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GOOGLE ALERT…ADAM SANDLER?

Google Alert is a a system I signed up for a while ago to alert me to anything that is posted on the web about myself or Lee Marvin. Naturally, if it’s a Lee Marvin Google Alert you’ll more than likely find it posted here. If it’s something that might concern me, then it’s infinitely less likely to be seen here. The whole purpose of this website/blog is to encourage folks to read Lee Marvin Point Blank but more importantly, watch, rediscover and appreciate the films and TV work of Lee Marvin. 
   In that respect, this website has been pretty successful. As a matter of fact, about two years ago my publisher wanted to discontinue it, believing the time had passed for its promotional usefulness. We discussed it and I agreed to pay to take it over. Glad I did. Nine years down the road and it’s still going strong. 
   Okay, enough background. The Google Alert I received recently goes completely against everything I just wrote. Why? Because its content consisted of this headline: “Adam Sandler Once Sent Military Copies of ‘Anger Management’ With Extra Footage”

ADAM SANDLER, published in 2004 by Lucent Books for their People in the News Series (PITN).




Now normally, I wouldn’t give such a headline a second look but when I clicked on it as a reference to me, I metaphorically rubbed my eyes in shock as the damn thing was a click bait article derived from my book! I wrote the damn thing so long ago I didn’t even remember if I wrote what they culled from my quote. I double checked my copy and son-of-a…..I did! Granted, most click bait articles, are..well, click bait, something you wait to load while the ads take up most of the bandwidth. No biggie. But c’mon, I wrote about Sandler back in 2004! By the way, the choice was either Sandler, George Bush or Eminem. Kind of explains Sandler as a subject, doesn’t?
  Anyone interested in reading the content can do so here. Not bad, certainly not great either. As for me, I’ll be writing about The making of the The Dirty Dozen in Killin’ Generals. Have a great summer, everybody!

  • Dwayne Epstein.
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